The issue of town hall meetings in Vernon has been in the spotlight before and it took centre stage at council once again this week.
A couple of councillors were in favour of giving it a test drive to see if the concept could prove beneficial for the community and council alike.
“I’m not sure how well it’s going to work,” said Coun. Catherine Lord. “If we don’t try it we won’t know.”
Lord’s sentiments were echoed by Coun. Scott Anderson, who put the motion forward, saying an informal setting might be more welcoming for some residents that may find council meetings intimidating.
Both made good points.
However, not enough to convince the rest of council who seemed pretty sure they knew how the concept would play out in reality.
Concerns about a “bitch-fest” and a lack of decorum and control, as well as creating divisions on council, were expressed.
“When people have concerns, they contact us,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham, in expressing her opposition to the idea of town hall meetings.
And in these days of e-mails, cell phones, and in a city of this size, personal contact, she also has a good point that opportunities to express your views, formally and informally, already exist well enough for most folks.
However, many would say, like Anderson and Lord, that it was worth trying at the very least.
Others might say it was all about pandering to the public and there’s plenty of opportunity to voice concerns to council already.
Council has rejected the idea but we have a feeling the debate about the issue will continue for the foreseeable future.